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review 2017-06-09 23:45
Icelandic adventure.
Volcano Island - William Graham,William Graham,Mary Allwright

William Graham is a keen travel blogger and it's great that he shares his experiences with young readers in his children's literature. This book is set in Iceland and I discovered to my surprise, that it was the first book I'd read about that country.

 

Rolf and Frieda are both ten; Rolf is a slightly alienated American boy and Frieda is an Icelandic girl, struggling through the recent death of her mother. Their parents are friends and arrange for Rolf to spend some of his summer vacation in Iceland. In spite of initial reservations, the two children find they have a lot in common and Frieda enjoys showing him around and sharing some of the local folklore.

 

The book was an interesting combination of travelogue and local myths, with a bit of an adventure thrown in. Sadly, most youngsters seem to want to read fantasy these days, but for a child looking for something a bit different, this would be an excellent choice.

 

I was listening to the audiobook version, well narrated by Mary Allwright, and obtained through Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.

Recommended age 5 to 10 years.

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review 2016-11-11 01:21
For Chatty Kathy!
My Mouth Is a Volcano Activity and Idea Book - Julia Cook,Carrie Hartman

Where has this book been all of my life? I've been told about this book and I have seen it so many places and I absolutely need it for my classroom library! This book would be excellent in teaching those new classroom rules. We all know that one student that just can't keep their lips together longer than 30 seconds! I would use this book to help my students learn "how to do school". I think I would be excellent in forming those new classroom rules collaboratively and through this story they can see why it's important to respect other people's voices!  

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review 2016-07-10 15:24
Another Ripping Good Yarn by T.E. MacArthur
The Volcano Lady: Vol. 4 - The Lidenbrock Manifesto (Volume 4) - T.E. MacArthur

Disclosure up front: author T.E. MacArthur and I co-chair the author programming at a local convention.

There. Now, that's out of the way.

In this the fourth volume of MacArthur's Volcano Lady series, the star-crossed Tom Turner and titular Professor Lettie Gantry are both after the same man: the one the English newspapers call the Earthshaker. He claims to have created a weapon that creates earthquakes on demand, and plans to sell it to the Prussians. Tom and Lettie are working separately, unknown to the other, to stop the madman.

Throw in an homage to Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in the person of Professor Otto von Lidenbrock, and you've got the basis for quite an adventure.

Taking place in England and Iceland (where MacArthur has traveled extensively for research purposes), the adventure tale examines political science, geology, geography, and yes -- even the nature of love.

This book is simply delightful.

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review 2016-03-11 17:52
How to Breathe Fire by Shona Husk
How To Breathe Fire - Shona Husk

Each year, the prosperous island nation of Adar offers one of its women to the Fire God as a bride in order to appease him and keep from being buried under lava and ashes. The newest offering is Camea. Although most other women would be trembling in fear, Camea is secretly elated. She figures that it's one of the witches who kills the women, and not the Fire God himself. If she can overpower the witch, she can escape Adar on one of the trading ships and see the world she's always dreamed about.

It isn't a witch that kills the bride...but it also isn't the Fire God. Matai is a prince of Adar who, many generations ago, was punished by the Fire God. He was turned into a being of fire and, each year since then, has been forced to live with a bride for a year and then kill her in order to save Adar. Even as Matai tries to keep as much distance from Camea as the Fire God will allow, he finds himself intrigued by her fearlessness.

This story was okay, although too short to be more than that. It reminded me of the “Beauty and the Beast” story, with maybe a hint of the Persephone myth. Matai was the prince who was transformed for being a jerk to a witch. Camea's frustration with being locked up inside the volcano reminded me of Persephone's desire to see the world above. A lot of what kept me reading was a desire to find out what Camea and Matai's happy ending would look like, and how they would manage to achieve it.

The “Camea and Matai getting to know each other” stuff was much less interesting than I'd hoped, in large part because Matai was pretty boring. I liked Camea's determination. If she had to be Matai's prisoner, then she'd at least convince him to let her out enough so that she could see the sky. If he refused to talk to her, she'd make it so that he couldn't ignore her. Matai, on the other hand, hadn't even thought of testing his own abilities until Camea started asking him questions.

Additional Comments:

I should mention that Camea was raped by the farmer's son she would have had to marry if she hadn't been chosen to be the Fire God's newest bride. It happened before the story began and was referred to in such a low-key way that I kept forgetting about it. I was a little bugged by how it was handled. At most, it made Camea nervous about having sex with Matai.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2015-06-16 14:29
I have no idea why the back cover showed up instead of the front, but ...
The Volcano Lady: Vol. 3 - The Great Earthquake Machine (Volume 3) - S. N. Jacobsen,T.E. MacArthur

This is the third Volcano Lady book in the series, and one of the finest. In this outing, a man calling himself "The Earthshaker" is setting off explosions that literally rock England and cause all sorts of problems. The Home Office sends Doctor Lettie Gantry, a volcanologist, to investigate.

In the mean while, the Americans have sent Tom Turner to look into the matter ... and he is Lettie's would-be sweetheart. There has not been a more star-crossed pair in literature in a very long while!

Author T.E. MacArthur grounds her tales in historical events and sprinkles them with characters not only from her own imagination but also from Victorian-era science fiction. The Colchester earthquake with which she credits The Earthshaker was an actual occurrence, for example.

Lettie is a complex character, trying to make her way as an intellectual in a world that tells her she is literally incapable of being one ... and also still trying to remain socially acceptable at the same time. Turner and the other characters are equally well-drawn and entertaining.

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